How to Grow Eggplant
Instructions for Growing Eggplant
in Your Vegetable Garden
Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family (as are tomato plants). They grow on small bushes that can reach up to 5 feet tall. The fruit can be long or short, round or egg shaped, dark purple to red to black to creamy white. When growing eggplant, prepare the soil as you would for tomato plants.
Note: 6 plants should grow enough eggplant for an average family to enjoy.
You can also grow eggplant successfully in containers as well. For more information, review: container gardening.
Gardening Tip for Growing Eggplant - Eggplant is a good companion plant for certain vegetables. Review companion planting.
Chromium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin B6, K, Thiamin, Folate, Dietary Fiber.
Eggplant is a warm climate vegetable and does not tolerate frost. Cool nights can slow eggplant's growth. (If you have cool nights in your area during the growing season, consider creating a microclimate in your garden with simple brick/stone walls or ground covering to retain the day's heat to help in growing eggplant).
Plant eggplants in rich soil with full sun, with protection from winds.
When growing eggplant, it can take up to 4 months to bear fruit. So, if you're thinking about growing eggplant, be sure to plant early enough for a harvest before fall's first frost arrives.
Garden soil must be well drained and rich in organic matter such as well-rotted manure and compost when growing eggplant.
Also, test your garden soil pH levels. A pH level between 6.0-7.0 is best for growing eggplant.
If you're in an area that experiences frosts, mulch heavily around the roots and cover with cloths at night.
Keep the garden bed weed-free. However, weed carefully so not to disturb eggplant's shallow root system.
Growing eggplant requires warm garden soil and warm air temperatures for the seed to germinate (68+ degrees (F)).
Extend the season by starting the seeds indoors 8 weeks ahead of transplanting in the garden (especially if you have a short growing season). See starting seeds indoors.
Gardening Tip for growing Eggplant - Remember, cold soil shocks the seeds and plants, and it also prevents them from growing as quickly.
Avoid overwatering. Maintain even moisture and temperature levels in the soil around the roots by mulching around the plant.
A few days before planting, dig a dose of complete fertilizer into your eggplant bed.
Also, when you dig your row for planting, dig the row several inches deeper than the seed provider recommends. Add a shallow layer of complete fertilizer. Cover with garden soil, until the bottom of the row is at the recommended planting depth. Then plant the seeds. By the time the roots reach the fertilizer, it will have mixed with the soil and will give your plants' roots an extra boost to help growth.
Gardening tip for growing Eggplant: When growing eggplant, apply a dose of fertilizer when you start to see fruit forming.
Aphids, egg fruit caterpillar and spider mites are the main pests. Also, Root Rot (caused by overwatering.)
Crop rotation will lessen incidence of soil-borne wilt diseases. Do not grow peppers or tomatoes in succession with eggplants.
Gardening Tip for growing Eggplant - Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.
Pick the fruit at full color after about 3 or 4 months, but before the seeds harden and turn brown. The skin should be tight, firm and unwrinkled. Over-ripe fruit is tough and bitter. Cut the hard, woody stems with a sharp tool, to prevent damage to fruit.
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.